It was a big day for earthquake awareness in BC yesterday during the Great British Columbia ShakeOut – the largest earthquake drill in Canadian history. Thousands of people practised “drop, cover, and hold on” for two minutes at 10 a.m., and if you took part, I’d love to hear about it.
I asked Scott Larsen how he and his colleagues at Krasicki & Ward Emergency Preparedness help people prepare for earthquakes at work. I first met him at the CSSE/NAOSH awards and was interested to hear what they advise.
“Every person’s plan might be a little different,” Scott says. “People don’t necessarily need to go out and get anything fancy but they need to start with their daily routine and ask: ‘Okay what do I do every day? What do I need?’”
Earthquake kits for stranded workers
Here in BC, companies are not required to buy earthquake supplies for their staff. But people should be prepared because they could be stuck at work for a few days if nearby bridges and roads are destroyed. Scott says some employers offer earthquake kits that workers can pay for in monthly payroll deductions. These kits – sold by Krasicki & Ward and others – contain flat packs of water, condensed food, first aid supplies, etc.
Based on my conversation with Scott, I’ve compiled six tips for earthquake prep at work:
1) Look at the earthquake preparedness information on your municipality’s website.
2) Store heavy books on bottom shelves so they won’t fall on you.
3) Keep a spare supply of critical medications with you, in case you can’t get home or go to a pharmacy.
4) Make sure you have shoes you can wear to evacuate the building. Keep a pair of boots handy if you wear pumps or dress shoes.
5) Keep cash with you in case ATMs stop working.
6) If you are a parent, make sure you have a plan for your kids and who will pick them up.
Of course we will hope it never happens – but if it does, we’ll be as ready as we can. I’ve always liked this statement of optimism: “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”